OPINION

Dickson: Mother’s Day gifts we moms really want

May 11, 2023, 8:00 AM

Mother's Day gifts aren't always necessary. Sometimes moms just want quality time....

(Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

In case any of you need encouragement on this topic, let me be so bold as to speak for mothers this week before Mother’s Day.

We don’t need you to spend money on Mother’s Day gifts — on anything. We don’t need clothes, gifts, flowers, candy or cookies. We don’t need jewelry or expensive meals out. We don’t even need cards. These are not the things that will make us feel loved and appreciated.

And after all, being loved and appreciated is the goal, right?

Real downtime as Mother’s Day gifts

The first thing new moms need is downtime. I remember when my kids were young, I just wanted to take a bath without little fingers curling under the door and cries of “Mom! When are you getting out of there?”

It’s not Mother’s Day if mom is doing laundry, breaking up fights, cooking a meal, helping with homework, cleaning anything. Downtime means I’m not on duty for any normal mom things.

Real conversation as Mother’s Day gifts

What I really want for Mother’s Day gifts as a mom of teenagers is a real conversation with my kids. Usually, when I try to have a heart-to-heart conversation with them, they shrug. They’re off to the gym. They get a call. Or they give me the typical response of, “I don’t know,” occasionally followed by “Whatever bruh.”

I want to ask my kids what the most important thing they learned was this year. It doesn’t have to be in school. Did they learn any tough life lessons? I want a real answer.

I want to ask what they are most excited about in their futures. What do they feel fear around in the future? I want to know whether they feel happy every day, not in a LOL kind of way, but in a peaceful, real sort of way.

I want to ask them what I can do better to support them. I want them to honestly tell me if they’re getting what they need from me. I want them to tell me what I do that they love, and what I do that they don’t love so much. (That doesn’t mean I will change anything, of course.)

I want to ask them what their favorite memory is from their childhoods. I want to share mine with them.

Real connection as Mother’s Day gifts

As I get older and my kids grow up and lead lives of their own, I think about the future. What I really want from my kids, and will always want, is a real connection. It doesn’t have to be on Mother’s Day proper. It can be any time, in any way.

I want to know that they still want to spend time with me — on the phone or in person. I guess that assumes that they do want to spend time with me. I pray they always will.

I want them to love each other, to be there for each other. I know they have their differences. They are very. Different. People. But I want them to have a feeling of family that is important enough to them to show up, to love through pain, and spend some portion of their amazing lives together.

My wish for moms and women everywhere

I have a wish for women everywhere on Mother’s Day. I didn’t have my first child until I was 40. Every adult year before that, I felt pain on Mother’s Day. Some people would say “Happy Mother’s Day” to me, and then catch themselves, not knowing if they should take it back. Then they’d wind up overexplaining, “Well, we’re all mothers, in a way, so Happy Mother’s Day.”

All women should be cherished, whether they are mothers or not. Women are role models, unselfish and loyal friends, generous members of the community, terrific teachers and so much more.

For those moms who recently lost their own mothers, my heart goes out to you. I lost my mother many years ago, but for me, this day will always be about her. It feels wrong to be celebrated on Mother’s Day because that day is for Harriet Dickson, not Amanda Dickson.

And for those mothers who have lost their children or whose children do not stay in touch, I have no words that can convey my love for you. I wish I could take the pain out of this day. I cannot, so I will sit with you, in this moment, and tell you that you are cherished.

Amanda Dickson is the co-host of Utah’s Morning News and A Woman’s View.

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Dickson: Mother’s Day gifts we moms really want